Valentine’s Day Wedding Theme

A Valentine’s Day theme wedding is sure to be a romantic event with careful planning and operation. Here are some ideas and tips for your big day.

* Invitations: There are plenty of romantic wedding invitation designs out there, choose one with doves, roses, hearts or other Valentine’s Day typical signs to set the mood for your wedding ceremony. Pick your favorite envelopes with red liners and don’t forget the double heart stamps.

* Color Scheme: Pink, purple, red and white are traditional Valentine’s Day colors. However, just choose your favorite shades and hues to decorate your wedding party.

* Wedding Dress: A romantic bridal gown is a must for a Valentine theme wedding. Fluffy skirts, off the shoulder collars, puffy sleeves, sweetheart neckline and appliqués are ideal incorporation for Valentine’s outfit. You may even add a little red or pink touch to your dress, or choose a pink wedding dress for a sweet princess look. Hot lace or light-colored pearl embellishments are also amazing.

* Attire: The groom and his best men should wear formal tuxedos to match the romantic atmosphere. They may even try red or pink shirts to match the color scheme. The bridal party gowns should be as romantic as the wedding theme, but not overpower the wedding dress.

* Flowers: Undoubtedly, roses are the favorite flowers for a Valentine wedding, and pink, purple, red or white blooms match the theme. Pink lilies or tulips are also great choices which add a unique touch.

* Decorations: Besides flowers, there are still other decorations such as candles, lace and ribbons. Scatter heart-shaped confetti on guest tables and hang heart-shaped balloons over the entrance arc for a whimsical touch.

* Menu: A romantic menu could include any foods you like, such as your first date dinner. Choose chocolate covered strawberries as your appetizers. Rich hot cocoa is warm and popular in the winter holiday. Pink champagne is a superb choice for a romantic wedding.

* Wedding Cake: White chocolate and red roses covered heart-shaped wedding cake would be a perfect match for your Valentine’s wedding.

* Wedding Favors: Heart shaped favors may offer your guests a touch of romance. Colorful candies, strawberry jams, sparkling spoons, double heart photo frames are perfect for Valentine favors.

* Wedding Music: Choose love songs for weddings to play during reception.

Your Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor weddings are romantic and scenic, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. Here’s your guide to planning a trouble-free, outdoor wedding.

Who will officiate?
Some officiants will only perform ceremonies within a house of worship, so you’ll need to check with yours in advance before planning your ceremony outside.

Inform your guests
Guests need to know they’re attending an outdoor wedding so they can dress appropriately. It’s also a good idea to send weather information to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the climate.

Be prepared
Combat potential outdoor issues by having the following items on hand:

Plenty of water
Umbrellas
Handheld paper or wood fans
Sunscreen
Bug spray
Tissues/paper towels

Securing your Outdoor Wedding Location
For an outdoor wedding, the draw is the setting, so finding the right spot and coordinating the event around it is the most important task on your to-do list. Your setting options are as limitless as the great outdoors itself. But before getting your heart set on a specific spot, these are some key questions you’ll need to ask.

Is There Privacy?
Keep in mind that if your location is a public space – or even near a public place (like a street or sidewalk), you may have to contend with onlookers. Try to reserve your space in a secluded spot to prevent unwanted guests or distractions.

What’s The Backup Plan?
Obviously you’ll need a plan in case of inclement weather. If your location doesn’t have indoor facilities to accommodate your event should the skies open, you’ll need to rent a tent. Many rental companies will reserve your tent for a deposit and that way, if the weather is nice and you don’t use it, you don’t lose the full payment.

Can You Hear?
Will guests have to compete with roaring waves, gusting winds, honking cars, or screaming children to hear your vows? You may need to rent a sound system and mics for the officiant and yourselves. Your band or DJ should be able to provide this for you.

Outdoor Décor Elements
Let the setting speak for itself – Don’t compete with Mother Nature; rather, subtly enhance your background (whether it’s a sandy beach, blooming garden, or thick forest) with a complementary color palette and décor elements.
Au Natural – Consider details like burlap table linens and vintage furniture to set your scene. It blends into the outdoor setting while also creating a statement. Get inspired by the vintage gems available from Found Vintage Rentals.
Lighting – Create ambiance in your outdoor space by getting creative with your lighting – there is nothing quite like bistro lights, twinkle lights, or lanterns set against a natural scene.

Outdoor Wedding Flowers
Blooms – An outdoor wedding calls for flowers that can brave all sorts of weather. Look for sturdier blooms like mums, orchids, carnations, alstroemeria, lisianthus, calla lilies, and sunflowers. Also, don’t overlook these hearty, simple floral embellishments that look fabulous by themselves: baby’s breath, bells of Ireland, hypernicum berry, bupleurum, and dusty miller.
Style – Keep your containers and arrangements natural-looking, as an intricately designed, elaborate pedestal centerpiece in a tall candelabra just doesn’t fit. Instead, use loose arrangements in mason jars, wooden boxes, vintage containers, crates, or pails.

Outdoor Wedding Menu
Keep it simple – Even an elegant outdoor wedding calls for simpler fare that can withstand varied temperatures, so avoid items like mayonnaise or dishes which must be served cold. If yours is a casual affair, consider a traditional outdoor barbeque.
Keep guests refreshed – Have plenty of ice and water, along with teas or lemonades, especially if your outdoor wedding will take place in a warm environment. Alcoholic beverages like sangria, mojitos, or mint juleps will also keep your guests refreshed.

Outdoor Wedding Cake Ideas
Make it last – Wedding cakes can melt outside. Opt for fondant icing over buttercream. Stay away from mousse and ice cream cakes. Many types of cupcakes hold up well in the heat.

Outdoor Wedding Attire
Bride – Dare to go casual. Outdoor settings allow for breezy fabrics and shorter hemlines. Knee and tea-length gowns are making a major comeback, while lace and/or organza are good outdoor fabric options. But if traditional elegance is what you prefer then you can still plan a formal dress code – just consider what’s best suited for sun, sand, or grass.
Bridesmaid – You may want to forgo the giant ball gown and instead, stick to a romantic empire or a-line dress in a flowing organza or light-catching taffeta.
Shoes – For both bride and bridesmaids, opt for a wide, flat heel, cute ballet flats, or strappy sandals, as a stiletto may sink right into the ground.
For the guys – Lose the tux and consider an unbuttoned affair. Dress the guys in khakis and sport jackets or crisp oxfords. If you’re heart is set on a tux, get a vest with a full back – which will look better when their coats are off.

Outdoor Wedding Favors

Keep ‘em cool – Personalized paper fans are both decorative and functional.
Keep love blooming – By giving packs of flower seeds.
Plant it – Gift them with miniature potted plants or herbs.
Give – Forgo the traditional favors and donate to your favorite “green” organization in your guests’ names.

Outdoor Wedding Getaway
Up and away – A hot air balloon makes a dramatic statement and affords some romantic alone time with your new spouse
Sail away – Make your exit on a sail boat, yacht, catamaran, or canoe (hint: you’ll need a body of water).
Horseback – Make sure you practice before you galloping into the sunset.
Vintage Flatbed Truck – ‘Cause you’re a down-home couple at heart.
Horse-drawn carriage– This romantic exit is the ultimate departure fit for a princess.

Outdoor Wedding Entertainment

Fun and games – In a natural outdoor setting, you’re not limited to a traditional band or deejay to entertain the crowd; outdoor games like horseshoes or croquet can be a fun and unexpected twist.



Advice for Forgoing the Traditional Wedding Venue

Many wedding venues have outdoor settings available, which makes planning an alfresco event a bit easier (they provide and handle the essentials). If you’re planning your outdoor wedding at a public park, beach or private home; however, you’ll have added details to attend to:

Permits
Public outdoor locations require numerous permits and fees. Be sure to find out about any restrictions on noise, alcohol consumption, number of guests, food preparation, tables, tents, and time limits.

Rental fees
Keep in mind that you’ll have to rent everything – from tables and chairs to bathrooms and sound systems – and these rental fees can up your bottom line.

Details
Attention to detail is key to the success of an outdoor wedding. Coordinating the permits, rentals, backup plans – not to mention the typical wedding details – can be taxing. Seriously consider enlisting the help of a professional coordinator to keep things together.

Accessibility
Is there convenient parking? If not, you’ll need to secure a nearby lot and provide a shuttle – especially if you’ll have elderly guests or others with limited mobility.

Wedding Insurance
Outdoor weddings are a prime candidate for insurance, which will to help recoup losses caused by extreme weather conditions or any other circumstances that prevent your wedding from taking place.

Free Wedding Workbook & Website For Our Couples

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Free Wedding Workbook & Website

Workbook Services Include:

Guest List & Budget
Task Calendar
Wedding Ceremony and Reception
Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
Seating Arrangements
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Bridesmaid’s Luncheon
Bridal Shower
Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
Post-Wedding Activities
Honeymoon
RSVPs
Gifts and Thank Yous
Costs and Payments
Vendors and Contacts
Out of Town Guests
Gift Registry
Create and Collect Notes Electronically
Organize Notes into your own Categories
Attach images and Links to Notes
Share Notes with Family and Friends
Maintain a Master Email List for your Wedding
Create Customized Lists
Send Email in Bulk
Works with your Existing Email Address
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Contact us today to have this set up for you for free.

Choosing Your Wedding Colors

Choosing your wedding color theme is one of the first decisions you’ll need to make when you start planning your wedding. Colors will set the tone of your wedding and determine the dresses, decor, and stationery that you order. Whether you’re thinking about a bold color combination or something more subdued, considering these factors will help you choose the right wedding colors theme.

First of all, consider the colors that will make up your background. For most couples, this will be a church or religious establishment followed by a banquet hall. Take trips to the place where your ceremony is going to happen. What color are the carpets? What color are the walls? If there is stained glass in the windows, what colors are used? Take notes and even take photos of your ceremony location. Then take a visit to your reception hall. Again, jot down or take photos of the general decor.

Think about what colors would and would not go with your wedding ceremony and reception locales. If the church you’re getting married in has red carpets and primary colors in its stained glass windows, a lime green and hot pink combination just might clash. Red, navy blue, dark green, or other bold primary colors would go well with the windows, while in summer you can probably do pastels. Loud neon colors would just be too much when there’s already a lot of color happening.

If you haven’t chosen a ceremony location yet, try to find something with a blank pallet of white walls so there won’t be any limitations in your wedding color combination choices.

Don’t forget to think about your bridesmaids. Although you may look good in every color of the rainbow, your gal pals may not. Some people just don’t look good in mustard yellow or fire engine red. Ask your girls if there are any colors they usually try to avoid and cross those colors off of your options list. Remember that darker colors can have a slimming effect, and weight conscious bridesmaids will certainly not want to wear a shade of white.

Once you’ve narrowed down your wedding color theme choices, think about what colors generally go with the season of your wedding. Oranges and yellows can work great for a fall wedding, while light blue and silver surely speak of a winter wonderland theme wedding. Darker colors are usually used in for a winter wedding, while pastels reign for spring weddings.

Bold colors are great for summer weddings or beach-themed weddings. Although those may be the trends, don’t be afraid to break from tradition to use your favorite color combination. Make sure you choose wedding colors you enjoy, and not an outrageous combination you’ll be sick of by the time your honeymoon rolls around! Follow these tips and you’re sure to come up with the perfect combination for you.

Your Wedding Photo Booth

The photo booth has become a fixture at wedding receptions as a form of entertainment and a way to generate unique keepsakes for the couple and their guests. Demand for photo booths has increase dramatically over the past few years.

It’s interactive for all of your guests, It adds that pop of fun and excitement to your wedding reception. It isn’t just fun for the kids either; a bride’s 95-year-old grandmother even enjoys the photo booth. Couples are also moving toward photo booth guestbooks instead of traditional guestbooks.

Photo strips are replacing favors. More couples are choosing this specialty at their wedding because it gives their guest something tangible to take away from their wedding that they can scrapbook, frame, or hang on their fridge.

Once you’ve decided to include a photo booth as part of your festivities, exploring the different types will help you choose a vendor to capture your wedding memories.

NO WALLS, STUDIO STYLE PHOTO BOOTHS
These “booths” doesn’t have walls; it simply consists of a taped square on the floor for guests to stand in, a backdrop, a lively photographer, and professional studio lights.You get to see people from the wedding, your friends and family you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. And the photo resolution is awesome.

Pros to no-walls: Room to move/less claustrophobia, more-animated photos because the photographer is interacting with guests.
Cons: No photo strips on the spot, so guests can’t take them home as a souvenir or see them right away.

MODERN DIGITAL PHOTO BOOTHS
These booths, will feature high-resolution cameras and printers, print photos in less than 20 seconds.

The photos have a nostalgic feel, however, with black borders on black-and-white photos, white borders on color photos and vignetting along the border. It’s the best of both worlds—bridging the old and new.

Inside each booth the screen displays a video of what’s going on between each shot so guests can see themselves. If anyone’s getting cut out of the frame, they can adjust before pushing the button to take the photo.

Features can include a back curtain that opens up, allowing room for a number of guests (sometimes up to 20), a 45-degree threshold, and a spacious bench to accommodate older guests.

The booths can print two identical photo strips of three photos each, so the guests get a copy as a party favor and the bride and groom get a copy for their guestbook or photo album. Generally a Photo Booth attendant helps guests with questions and helps build the guestbook for the bride and groom.

This Photo Booth can also provides a password-protected online gallery that acts as a virtual guestbook where visitors can view photo strips or purchase a CD of images. Some companies can also customize photo strips with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date.

Pros of a digital photography booth: Quick processing time, customization with wedding date and couple’s names, option for color or black-and-white photos, ability to share photos online with guests.
Cons: Less of an antique feel. Guests can see what the photo will look like as it’s being taken, so it might be less candid.

ANTIQUE PHOTO BOOTHS
These will feature photo booths from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s in a classic, Art Deco style, with porcelain doors and seats, hardwood tops and rounded edges. There are only a few dozen such booths left in the country, which adds to their vintage appeal, and they’re often a draw for couples getting married in an older building. The nostalgia factor’s can be a huge thing.

Although it can take up to two minutes and 35 seconds for photos to be printed in this type of booth, they can usually process up to seven photos at one time. These booths can take over 150 wallet-size strips per hour, with four photos per strip.

Pros of an antique photo booth: Vintage appeal, conversation piece, detailed photos that don’t fade, Underwriters Laboratories-approved for safety.
Cons: It’s not easy to duplicate photos after the event because there is no copy other than the original strip.

Photo Booth Tips
Do:

  • Check out vendors’ photos and test the booth you’re going to rent.
  • Get the photo booth for enough time. The standard three hours may be too short, especially if you have 200 guests or more. Find out how many strips the booth can take per hour.
  • Find props like glasses and hats at thrift or discount stores to increase the fun.
  • Make sure guests are aware of the photo booth; have someone mention it during his/her toast.
  • Allot some photos for your guestbook and allow guests to take the rest home.
  • Get a CD of all of the photos later if it’s an option.

Don’t:

  • Wait until the last minute to reserve a booth. Vendors’ calendars fill quickly, especially during the warmer months.
  • Be shy about asking questions about pricing, including whether there are discounts for off-season or Friday or Sunday weddings.
  • Put the photo booth in a location that is not convenient for guests (e.g., outside, on a different floor, or in an isolated corner away from the festivities).
  • Try to squeeze too many people into a photo booth at one time; heads might get cut out of the frame and expressions might be hidden.
  • Have the photo booth set up too late in the evening, or you’ll miss older guests and families with children.
  • Forget to join in the fun! It will encourage guests’ participation.

New Wedding Trends

A new take on “something old” will be seen trending in 2012 weddings. Vintage inspirations are here to stay – however, we will start to see vintage used in a much need variation: good-bye rustic vintage, hello sophisticated old-world glamour.

Bridal Gown Trends for 2012
We welcome glamorous, romantic and old hollywood-style in bridal gowns in 2012. Designers have embraced and combined flowing elegance with texture and colour to produce show stopping gowns.

Theme and Decor Trends for 2012
Bridal couples will continue to incorporate family heirlooms and traditions into their 2012 wedding, just with less mason jars, tin cans and vintage luggage. The ‘shabby-chic’ will be replaced by detailed French lace on dresses, favours, cake detail, bouquet wraps, and invitations.

Think old-world glamour meets modern sophistication with lavish furnishings, rich textures, lots of white, and some metallics in grand traditional settings.

Sweets and Treats Trends for 2012
The cupcake and candy bar trend of previous seasons will shift towards cookies and dessert tables in 2012. Expect to start seeing more cookies, pies, doughnuts, and “hand-made” candy being served to fulfill the sweet tooth cravings of guests at 2012 weddings. We also expect to see a much anticipated return of the traditional groom’s cake.

Wedding Candy Buffet

Indulge your guests’ sweet tooth with a candy buffet. Not only are they delightful edible treats, they can also serve as favors as much as party decoration. When we think candies, we think kids or casual or fun. But nowadays, more formal gatherings such as weddings feature candy buffets as well. Thanks to Martha Stewart Magazine. Candy buffets can look anything from colorful and fun to elegant and chic.

Step 1: Get inspired
Your wedding venue/location, season, time, wedding motif can play a part in deciding how your candy buffet will look (i.e. candy colors).

Step 2: Research and Budget
Don’t forget to include the candy buffet in your budget if you’re planning to have one. Cost of materials can add up quickly and your candy buffet can cost more than you expected. One of the most common advice for doing candy buffets is to not skimp. It is very possible for a candy buffet to look bare and pitiful when done on a budget. Depending on the number of guests and containers (full containers make pretty candy buffets), set aside about $200 to $500 or even more.

Step 3: Containers and scoops

  • You can use bowls, vases, jars, apothecary jars or similar containers for your candy buffet. Feel free to use different sizes and types of containers. You can be creative and use unique and cool containers.
  • Clear/glass containers are best. They showcase your candies and guests can easily see the candies available. If you prefer opaque containers, go for low and open.
  • If possible, use containers with bigger openings so the scoops/tongs can fit and be easily taken out when full of candy.
  • Large or tall vases may look attractive when added in to your candy buffet, but remember that scoops/tongs may not be able to reach the bottom. You can fill the bottom with fillers like colored tissue and fill the top with candy.
  • You don’t have to buy big or tall containers to add height to your candy buffet. You can use a stand, platform or overturned vases/containers to elevate some of the containers.
  • The number of containers you need may depend on the size of your table. A ‘full’ candy buffet table looks a lot nicer. If the table is too big, you can fill it with other items like flowers, linens, frames, paper lanterns to make it full.
  • You can use scoops or tongs or both. There are different types available (i.e. silver, clear, wood) that you can use to match the feel of your wedding if you like.

Candy buffet containers don’t have to be expensive. You can use bowls and vases that you already have at home. You can also ask friends if they can lend you some. Visit thrift shops and flea markets for cheap finds.

Step 3: Candies
Though some suggest around 5-8 ounces of candy each guest, this may not be preferable. Containers that are not filled may not look pretty. You can either buy more candy to fill big containers or buy other fillers such as colored tissues or such. It is suggested to have 8 to 10 candy varieties and about 15 to 20 pounds each. When choosing the types of candies to use, take into consideration your venue and season. You may not want to have chocolates when it’s too hot.

You can save on candy when shopping right after holidays such as Easter and Halloween. You can also buy candy in bulk.

Step 4: Packaging
Decide what guests will use to put their treats in. If needed, don’t forget to provide seals or adhesive labels to seal the packaging. You can be creative as much as you like. This is one element in the candy buffet you can personalize (i.e. stamp your names or logo on the packaging, monogram seals). If you’re on a budget, you can control the amount of treats each guest gets by the size of the packaging you provide.

Step 5: Signs and labels
Add a sign inviting your guests to your candy buffet table. Labeling each candy also helps guests know what they’re getting. Below are some wordings or poems brides have used with their candy buffet:

  • Serving you a little treat just to say we think you’re sweet.
  • Love is sweet, enjoy a treat. Thank you for making our day sweet.
  • Help yourself to a tasty treat, and remember, love is sweet.
  • Wishing you a sweet goodnight
  • Love is Sweet
  • Sweet dreams
  • How sweet it is to be loved by you.
  • Get a bag, fill it up, and enjoy!

Wedding Favors

Just because you want inexpensive wedding favors doesn’t mean they have to look cheap. With these great ideas, no one will know how little you paid for each favor. Most can be found or made for under $2. Raid the dollar store and get some good ideas too. You’ll be surprised with you find there!

Bags of Kisses: Tie some Hershey’s kisses in silver or gold netting and finish with a pretty ribbon. If you’re getting married around Halloween, you can find all sorts of bulk bags and discounts too. Craft stores will have cellophane and netting along with an array of inexpensive ribbon.

Glass Coasters: You can find coasters with every design imaginable. Find glass coasters that fit your theme and then tie in a pretty ribbon around them, and you’re done.

Shaped Favor Boxes: For pennies each you can buy favor boxes shaped in everything from handbags to brides and grooms and more. You’ll have to assemble them yourself as they will arrive flat (thereby saving on cost). But if you enlist friends and make a night of it, you can have fun putting them together and filling them with chocolates or candies.

Handmade Bookmarks: If you’re on a budget, you can use watercolor paper or card stock to make elegant bookmark favors. Use fashion scissors that cut designs into the paper to do the edges. Punch a hole and tie a nice ribbon or tassel on each one. Then you can write something on each one, rubber stamp a design or stamp your monogram or the words “thank you.”

Magnets: You can find nice magnets at discount stores that go along with your theme. For a beach wedding you might have a starfish or sail boat. For a winter wedding you might have a snowman. Once you find the magnet you like, adhere it to card stock and double it up as a place card or tie a ribbon around it as is. They’ll look charming at each place setting.

Key Rings: Order key rings in bulk in a shape that matches your theme and color scheme. You can find them at discount stores, dollar stores and online in just about every shape and size. Choose the best quality you can afford.

Photos: You can do a lot with photos using your home printer. You can personalize mugs, mouse pads and more. Or, you can take pictures of memorable places in the town you’re getting married in and create cards or stationery. Think creatively and you will find your printer is your new best friend. For a fraction of hiring someone to print photo gifts you can do it yourself with transfer and iron on paper.

Soaps: Soaps are a really nice item to offer as a favor. Many pressed soaps are so lovely that they look much more expensive than they are. Find them in a shape and design that matches your theme. Or, if you really want to get crafty and save money, make your own soap wedding favors. You can find soap-making supplies at discount stores. They have unique molds that will allow you to hand pour your soaps. You can do the same with candles if you like. And you can even add a scent or rose petals to make them even more unique.

Wedding Planning On A Budget

Weddings can be expensive. Many people save most of their lives for their wedding, and can easily spend thousands alone on just the dress. However, planning your own wedding on a strict budget isn’t impossible. In fact, many find it gives them a chance to be more creative, and make a more personable wedding experience, for both you and your guests. With so few couples looking to save, a more competitive wedding vendor market has emerged. You’ll find that not only do you have more options to choose from, but that it is also easy to stick to the budget you’ve set, and not sacrifice your dream wedding.

There are a few tips that you can follow that will help you save money and cut spending, all while not sacrificing your wedding vision.

~ As little as choosing the right date for your big day can affect the overall cost. Wedding venues, such as reception halls, will ask near three times the cost for a summer or fall wedding, compared to on off-peak season date.

~ You can also choose a flower that is in bloom during your set date, which cuts down on the costs of expensive imports.

~ When it comes to the dress, avoid those expensive retail stores and check out your online resources. You can find designer dresses for a fraction of the price, sold by former brides.

~ For those brides and grooms who are particularly creative, consider the following options: baking and decorating your own wedding cake, sewing your own gown or bridesmaids dresses, creating gifts for the guests and more.

~ As for the venue, you can easily cut your wedding expenses in half by choosing an nontraditional location. For example, a friend’s back yard, farm, or property.

The best part about planning a wedding on a budget? It gives you a chance to think outside the box, and make your big day a truly memorable one.

Wedding Trends

~ Consider having a theme wedding! Theme weddings are rising in popularity and offer a great, inexpensive way to personalize your wedding. By starting with a theme, you will be surprised at how easy it is to personalize your wedding with your own special touches.

~ You don’t necessarily need to have a period theme, such as a Victorian or Renaissance wedding. Instead, you could make your wedding memorable by personalizing it with your own special theme. There are many themes to choose from, including: “cupids”, “Paris in springtime”, “romantic candlelight” etc.

~ Some brides are useing wedding newsletters to keep their family and friends up to date with their wedding plans and schedules. Newsletters can save you from making endless phone calls, and can be revised three or four times leading up to your wedding date. The newsletter can include such information as: when people are needed for fittings, profiles on yourself and the groom (for guests you may not have met) and other personal information.

~ The new trend in bridal gowns leans toward a more elegant and stylish approach. Many brides are now choosing gowns with simple, but stunning, lines. It seems the trend in bridesmaids dresses and accent colors is moving away from pastel colors. Deep shades, such as burgundy, forest green and navy blue are becoming more popular choices, with cummerbunds and bow ties being made to match.

~ Brides are buying more thoughtful gifts for their attendants. It is being recognized that the best gifts are not the most expensive ones, but the ones that are chosen with your sincere thanks. Some popular ideas include: antique looking, silver frames with a picture of both you and your bridesmaid/attendant, or gift baskets filled with beauty products. The gift needs to say “Thank you for being here and helping to make my day so special”.

~ Because wedding costs can be quite expensive, there is a rising trend in the sharing of the total expense, not only by both sets of parents, but by the couple themselves. This is especially the case with professional couples who have been living on their own for a number of years, who may even want to pay for the entire wedding.

~ Some couples are choosing to be married at their honeymoon destination, and are inviting only close family and friends. There are many destination wedding packages available, so ask for details.

~ Many couples are personalizing their wedding ceremony by writing their own vows.

~ A wonderful, moving new trend is to face the congregation during the ceremony (as opposed to the traditional stance of having your back to them).

~ More couples are choosing to incorporate their ethnic background into their wedding ceremony and theme, as well as their reception.

~ Many brides are now moving away from formal, posed shots for their wedding photography. Instead, candid photography and a photojournalistic approach to the day are rising in popularity.

~ For the reception, buffets are becoming the most popular menu choice as they accommodate every guest’s taste.

~ Multi-flavored and layered wedding cakes are becoming firm favorites. Some brides like to choose a different flavor for each layer of their cake. For example, a layer of chocolate cake, a layer of marble cake and a layer of vanilla cake. Also, more creative decorative ideas are being used, especially fresh flowers.

~ Cake tops are being ordered to match specific wedding themes and color schemes. Brides are also copying the cake tops used by their parents and grandparents at their weddings. If you like, you could follow the trend of placing wedding photos of your parents and grandparents on your cake table, which gives a sentimental and romantic touch.

~ Less traditional gifts for the guests are being given. New ideas include: personalized chocolates, seedlings, monogrammed wine glasses and small perfume bottles tied with ribbon.

~ Another new reception trend is the replacement of the receiving line. A new, more relaxed way to perform this duty is for the bride, groom and the wedding party to make their way around the room, speaking to guests who are seated at their tables.

~ If you have decided to invite children to your reception, this new trend is for you! By providing a designated play room and a babysitter for children, you will get the best of both worlds. By providing this service, the children are still present, but can be kept entertained and cared for by the babysitter in the play room, leaving their parents to relax and enjoy the festivities.

~ With the wide variety of materials now available, many brides are finding it hard to match their reception decorations, flowers and napkins to the exact shade of their bridesmaid’s dresses. Because of this, a new trend in shading has arisen. By using varying shades of the color you have chosen, you will be able to add depth and interest to your color scheme. For example, if your bridesmaid’s dresses are burgundy in color, you could use a deep red and a light red to achieve a contrasting look.

~ One thoughtful new trend is to donate leftover reception food to charities who provide food kitchens for the needy.

~ More couples are choosing to hyphenate their surnames and some brides are choosing to keep their maiden names, for business or personal reasons. However, it’s not only career women who are deciding to keep their maiden name. If you come from a well-known family, or are an only child, you may feel strongly about keeping your maiden name also.